If Rodger's parents really wanted the cops to do something about their son, they should've claimed he had converted to Islam.
— Phan Nguyen (@Phan_N) May 24, 2014
Social media is generally a place for snark, burns, and the sporadic display of silly hashtag activism. But occasionally you see something worth giving further thought to such as this tweet which raises some interesting questions about the post 9-11 security establishment.
Oh, for those unaware, America has suffered yet another mass shooting. It has become so commonplace I wonder if these shootings are even news anymore. If the gunning down of 27 people, 15 of which were first grade children, at Sandy Hook by someone who had no business having a firearm is not going to instigate some gun control what will? What is the point of talking about it other than exploitation?
In this latest shooting by an obviously mentally ill person the parents actually tried to get ahead of what appeared to be a dangerous downward spiral. The parents of Elliot Rodger even contacted the police after seeing disturbing videos and a deranged manifesto that called for women to be put in concentration camps and exterminated.
Sheriff’s deputies even visited Elliot Rodger in his apartment on April 30 after his mother saw disturbing YouTube videos her son had posted on the Internet.
But nothing stopped the sex-obsessed college student from arming himself with semiautomatic handguns and terrorizing a Southern California town.
The mother who contacted the police after seeing her son’s manifesto calling for murder and terror might have tried convincing police her son had become a Muslim bent on jihad, that likely would have gotten a response other than a “visit.” That abnormality definitely generates a response from US security services, even a hyperactive response.
But a mentally ill man fuming about not getting sex and lustfully discussing a killing spree against women – whatever. Our hands are tied.
This is not to recommend that everyone (or anyone) should receive harsh treatment by police, but it is to say building an immense system around racial profiling has considerable limitations. If domestic threats are always couched as being Islamic or Arabic then you will end up missing a lot of opportunities to prevent horrors like the shootings in Santa Barbara where the police were not only contacted by concerned parents but the shooter even published a video on YouTube about a “day of retribution” detailing his plan to hurt women who had rejected him in Santa Barbara.
Seriously, what more did he have to do to indicate he was going to do something awful? Smoke signals?
If we aren’t going to have sensible gun legislation to prevent people like Elliot Rodger from gaining access to firearms (which he did legally) then we at least need a better policing system for those who are likely to go on a shooting rampage. For example, if the suspect’s parents tell police he is a dangerous and he writes a manifesto and posts Youtube videos about wanting to kill people.